Self-expression needs venue

USC’s nickname, “University of Summer Construction,” bears a great deal of truth. Distinguishing our school as a place of summer construction is not necessarily a bad thing. We should recognize USC as a place of transformation in which students play an important role in a university driven by a desire for progress.

Julia Vann | Daily Trojan

What we make our school look like physically reflects the character of the students.

For many USC students, construction on campus is just plain irritating and represents something that isn’t appreciated during their undergraduate stay at USC.

Whether we like it or not, construction reflects the changing face of USC.

While the administration is in charge of changes to the university, students play an essential role in defining the university by their actions.

For starters, students play a vital part in contributing to the aesthetic integrity of the school. Sometimes, however, they don’t respect the campus.

Students or even guests come onto campus to vandalize USC’s campus with graffiti, such as last year’s Buddha mural in the New/North stairwell.

This need for self-expression could be channeled into a positive experience that allows the student body’s voice to shine.

USC should recognize the need for self-expression causes these acts of vandalism and then we should respond appropriately.

Last fall, the university did this by temporarily making a public-forum graffiti wall in front of the VonKleinSmid Center for all students to freely express themselves. But this setup was only temporary.

There are more permanent setups elsewhere. While visiting California State University, Long Beach two summers ago, I came across an interesting response to graffiti in the restrooms.

Rather than continuing to fight the damages done, the university installed chalkboards in each of the restroom stalls as well as the sink area to encourage students to artistically express themselves in a non-destructive manner.

USC should not just be a place of progressive ideas, but also a place of progressive solutions. Addressing vandalism will not only reflect positively on the physical makeup of the school, but will also make students proud to be part of a uniquely forward-thinking school.

The importance of recognizing USC as an almost living entity is to recognize that what we put into it is what comes out. The current generation of USC students is  guiding USC to mature into the entity that will nurture each successive generation.

With last Wednesday’s involvement fair, USC had the opportunity to display many facets of tremendous diversity in its student body. The clubs reflected a taste of our university.

Before proclaiming “Fight on!” each one of us needs to have at least some sort of direction in which we wish to move.


Alan Wong is a sophomore majoring in East Asian languages and cultures. His column “Re-defining USC” runs every other Tuesday.